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I am quite aware that the spirit of indifference which in these days makes men in general refuse to believe that the gods warn us through portents, also prevents any portents whatever from being either made public or recorded in the annals.  But as I narrate the events of ancient times I find myself possessed by the ancient spirit, and a religious feeling constrains me to regard the matters which those wise and thoughtful men considered deserving of their attention as worthy of a place in my pages.  At Anagnia two portents were announced this year: a fiery torch had been seen in the sky and a cow had spoken; the cow was being fed at the public cost. At Menturnae also the appearance of the sky was as though it was on fire. At Reate there was a shower of stones. At Cumae the Apollo in the citadel shed tears for three days and three nights.  Two temple custodians in the City of Rome announced portents; one stated that a crested snake had been seen by several persons in the Temple of Fortune;  the other declared that two distinct portents had appeared in the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal, a palm tree sprang up in the temple precinct and a rain of blood had fallen in the daytime. There were two portents which were not taken into consideration, one because it occurred on private, the other on foreign soil.  The former was reported by T. Marcius Figulus, a palm tree had sprung up in the inner court of his house; the latter by L. Atreus who stated that in his house at Fregellae a spear which he had bought for his soldier son was in flames for more than two hours in broad daylight, but no part of it was consumed by the fire. The Keepers consulted the Sacred Books about those portents which affected the State and gave the names of the deities to be propitiated.  They directed that the expiatory sacrifices should consist of forty of the larger victims and be performed by the consuls; all the magistrates were to join in offering similar sacrifices at every shrine; there were to be special intercessions and the people were to wear chaplets of bay.  These directions were carefully carried out.
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